By Dr David Laing Dawson
“May you live in interesting times.” is an old Chinese curse that places an interesting twist on the word interesting.
And these be they I think. And not just because the world’s most powerful nation has the world’s dumbest president, not because the digital revolution allows me to write this and send it to your phones, tablets and computers, and not because a space station orbits up above us, and not because we now understand there is really no “up” within our space time continuum and expanding universe.
But because the generations alive today can be consciously aware of both the beginning and end of our existence. And by beginning I mean the enlightenment, the industrial revolution, and the birth of science, public health and medicine, and by “end” I mean the ravages of global warming and nuclear conflagration.
My generation had grandparents who moved from horse drawn buggies to motor cars, and they had grandparents of their own who left the farms and migrated to the cities for jobs in the new factories.
Up until then the human population was rather stable, despite pestilence, tribal and religious wars, famine and hardship. For thousands of years and thousands of migrations the ecosystem sustained, and life went on. Short and brutal though it was for most. And then suddenly (a mere blink in the life of our galaxy) we find we have 7 billion people on earth, insufficient forests to absorb the carbon we emit, all 7 billion gasping for breath on a wee polluted globe with a rising temperature.
I now have grandchildren who will experience the true disasters of global warming and over population, and they may have children and grandchildren who will witness the end of times.
From start to finish a mere 10 generations or so. And we, I think, live within that unique middle space of being able to imagine, experience, hear about and read about the beginning, and being able to see and imagine the inexorable movement toward the end. Interesting times indeed.
Unless we somehow control population growth, ease it back to a sustainable 4 or 5 billion, find a way of reducing and absorbing carbon, and sweep Donald Trump into the dustbin of history.
But, speaking of Donald, I must check out those Cohen tapes about the payoffs to Stormy and that other playmate.